Jason DiSalvo, here with his father Jim at Barber, will ride in World Supersport in 2010 on the BE1 Triumph team.
In a recent announcement that surprised many people, American Jason DiSalvo was named as one of the four riders on the BE1 Racing Triumph ParkinGO World Supersport team for 2010. Most had thought the team’s veteran Australian rider from this past season, Garry McCoy, had the spot, to be joined by AMA-transplant and British native Chaz Davies. But with things falling apart between McCoy and the team in the 11th hour, the New Yorker was ready and willing to step up. We caught up with DiSalvo just as he was heading out the door for his first test on the Triumph 675 in Portugal.
Most thought Garry McCoy had the ride. Any idea what happened?
Ya know, I’m not really sure. When I was working on all my stuff with the team I kind of assumed he was going to be my teammate. All I really know is what I’m hearing and it’s that he and the team couldn’t reach an agreement.
So it will be you and Chaz Davies?
Yep. Which will be cool because I know Chaz from racing here in America. So it will be a couple guys over there representing the AMA and showing the level of talent over here. Hopefully we can do everyone proud.
How well do you know Davies from his time here in the AMA?
Okay. Enough to say “hey” if I saw him around the paddock and chat a little about what we’ve been doing during our time off and stuff like that.
So there’s no bad blood at all?
No. Nothing at all. And seeing what Chaz was capable of doing last year with the KWS team, he brought them to a whole new level, and he’ll definitely be a good addition to the program and just good overall for developing the bike. I’m looking forward to having him as a teammate.
Funny how we were talking a couple months ago and you said it looked like you might be going to college this year if nothing in racing came up?
Yeah. Pretty funny because I was just about getting ready to start submitting forms for financial aid to go to school actually (laughs).
Was this ride something you went after or did they contact you?
DiSalvo rode for M4 Suzuki last year in AMA competition.
Little of both kind of. To be honest I was fishing everywhere and anywhere, ya know? If someone would have hired me to ride a scooter in Taiwan I would have done it (laughs). But thankfully, out of the blue, I got the phone call from the team and it was news to me. It totally blew me away when they sent over the offer. Even before then, when they just expressed interest and said they had a position open I was surprised. I couldn’t believe this late in the game that a position like this for a factory team wasn’t already filled.
It seemed the slot was filled but something must have happened with the team and McCoy?
Yeah I’m really not sure. It just kinda fell in my lap, I guess. My lucky day.
You’ll be on a Triumph, which is a triple. Have you ever ridden anything similar?
No. Nothing like it at all. I’ve never even thrown my leg over or sat on a street version. The first time will be this weekend in Portugal. So I’m pretty excited to get on it and see what it’s got. I’ve heard a lot of good things – it’s got tons of mid range and tons of front end feel. I’m just excited to get on and see for myself what it’s actually like.
Will they be the official factory-backed Triumph team this year?
Before racing for M4 Suzuki last year, DiSalvo spent several seasons as a factory Yamaha rider.
Yeah, I think so. That seems to be the case. I’m not 100% sure of how everything works or the pecking order or where the backing for the team comes from. I know they got an incredible sponsor in Italy in ParkinGO, but as far as being a full-fledged factory team I’m not totally sure. I know that’s what they call it so I’m interested as well to see what Triumph’s involvement is. But even watching the past results and the way the bike has progressed this past season I’ve got to imagine there’s some solid factory involvement.
The team’s results changed dramatically in 2009 it seemed.
Yeah I think everyone’s been surprised by the results. It is, like, out of nowhere. And for me that makes everything even more attractive as I’m going over to ride a bike that’s proven and is a solid contender.
What are your expectations going into this new adventure?
I don’t even know, man. Everything has happened so fast and I think you’re the first person to ask me that. I really don’t know until I get over there and check it out for the first test and see where I’m at. I know for me personally I just want to go over there and try to go well and turn fast times in practice and qualifying and then put it up there in the race. I want to be a front-running contender. I can see the bike is already a contender and now I want to step up and be one as well.
DiSalvo, far right sporting a beard, finished second to Mat Mladin (center) in the first Barber Superbike race in 2008.
World Supersport is notorious for some really close racing. You looking forward to that?
Yeah. Ya know in Daytona SportBike this past year we had some good battles and this is going to be classic Supersport-spec racing. Minimal modifications compared to Superbike and more about baseline machine capabilities and rider performance.
The rules are a bit more like the old Formula Xtreme here, right?
Yeah, it really shouldn’t say ‘minimal’ modifications, as the bikes are allowed a few things. Some of the stuff I’m really looking forward to getting over there and trying, like the electronics and such, and see what it’s all about.